The Bankruptcy Process
This page will help you know the direction you are going and where you are. You will also get a little insight as to how the process works and what you could expect.
A few things to know
You will need to take a credit counseling course within 180 days before filing your bankruptcy. You will receive a certificate of completion.
After filing you will need to provide copies of your most recent federal income tax returns or transcripts for the past 2 years.
In a Chapter 13, before the 341 hearing. You must file your Federal, state, and local tax returns within the past four years. Failure to comply will result in a dismissal of the case.
You must file with the bankruptcy court pay stubs or other evidence of income you’ve received in the 60 days prior to bankruptcy.
You will have to take a U.S. Trustee-approved course on personal financial management after filing your bankruptcy. (We guide our clients through the process)
In a Chapter 13 case, you will have to provide an updated statement of income and expenses every year.
Preparing to see an attorney
We know the importance of communication with our clients. Preparation for your consultation will benefit both you and the attorney.
To Calculate or Consider
The amount of income tax you owe and for which years
Are you behind on your support obligations? If so, how much?
What is your home worth? Are you behind on your mortgage? What’s the total balance owed?
How much your cars are worth and the amount you owe against them.
A total of the balances (not monthly payments) that you owe on all your bills
Your income, expenses and worth of your belongings
Your pay stubs for the past 60 days
Your mortgage documents
The certificate of title for any motor vehicles you’re using. If the vehicle is financed you’ll have to request a copy from the lender.
Your most recent income tax return
Any court papers from pending lawsuits
Any divorce decrees, support orders, or marital settlement agreements
Any information you provided to, or received from, a credit counseling agency within the past 180 days
Questions the attorney may ask
Are you considering marriage or divorce?
Are you in the process of a divorce?
Has your household income changed within the last six months, or do you expect it to change within the next six months?
Have you lived in Oklahoma for less than two years?
Are you about to be sued for causing personal injury to someone?
Is a foreclosure pending?
Have you been served with a lawsuit?
Is your driver’s license going to be taken for unpaid fines or judgments?
Are you facing eviction from your apartment?
Is your car about to be repossessed?
Have you repaid debts owed to close friends or family members within the past 12 months?
Have you repaid debts cosigned by close friends or family members within the past 12 months?
Has someone recently died, or do you expect that in the next year someone will pass away and leave you an inheritance or insurance benefits?
Were you divorced within the past four years?
Have you made credit-card balance transfers within the last six months?
Have made large debt repayments within the past 90 days?
Do you make the mortgage payments on your home when your spouse is not filing bankruptcy?
Have you refinanced your house within the past 12 months?
Have you refinanced your car or purchased a car on credit within the past 12 months?
Do you expect to be paying higher medical expenses in the near future?
Do you expect a large income tax refund this year?
Have you been fined as part of a criminal proceeding?
Are your wages being garnished, or are they about to be garnished?
Have you filed all the income tax returns that you’re supposed to?
Are you current with your mortgage payment?
Are you current with your car payments?
Have you ever filed bankruptcy?
Do you have interest in a trust?
Have you spoken to another attorney (about anything) in the past four years?
Have you given any large gifts to anyone in the past four years?
Have you transferred any assets or put them in other people’s names?
Within the past 90 days have you racked up more than $500 to a single creditor?
Do you have any money on deposit at a bank where you owe money?
Are you entitled to a bonus at work or can you cash in unused sick time?
Does anyone owe you money?
Have you made any unusual contribution to your pension or rolled over one pension to another within the past four years?
Are you current with child support and alimony?
Have you paid someone else’s debts within the past 12 months?
Have you ever given false information in applying for credit?
Is your home a manufactured or mobile home?
Do you use your home for a nonresidential purpose?
Meeting the Attorney
We offer a free 30-minute consultation. We hope you feel comfortable in doing business with us. Our clients always leave feeling better about their situation and knowing what their options are.
Completing the Paperwork.
We complete the necessary questionnaires with you. We understand that filling out paperwork is no fun. Just do your best in providing the most thorough and accurate information. If you do not have the information needed we will send you home with a homework list of needed information
You are required to take a credit counseling course 180 days prior to filing your bankruptcy. We will provide you with all the information you need to get this completed.
Make sure to take your time in reviewing your petition for accuracy. One in every 250 bankruptcy cases will be audited, and yours could be the one.
Filing your case
When you have completed your paperwork and your credit counseling. We will make a strategic decision on when to file the papers with the court.
The Automatic Stay
The automatic stay will kick in once your bankruptcy is filed. All of your creditors will be forbidden to take any action against you without first speaking to the judge. The judge will make a federal case against anyone who ignores the protective stay and tries to come after you.
What the Automatic Stay does not protect you from
Repossession of personal property where the creditor has a purchase money security interest (for example, your car), or where the personal property is leased and you haven’t entered into a reaffirmation agreement within 30 days of the 341 meeting.
Eviction if a judgment for possession has already been entered by a state court and state law says that it’s too late to reinstate the lease. See a bankruptcy attorney if you are being evicted.
Deductions from your pay or pension to make regular payments on a loan against your retirement plan.
Collection of child support or alimony, or even modifications of those support orders.
Proceedings to dissolve a marriage, provided that there is no property to divide.
Proceedings to establish a paternity.
Government regulatory matters…as long as they aren’t an end run to collect a pre-petition debt.
Post-discharge Financial Management course
You will need to take a financial management course after you file bankruptcy. We set up our clients to facilitate the process.
341 Meeting or Meeting of creditors
Within 10 days of filing your bankruptcy, the court sends notice to all of your creditors, letting them know about the case and which trustee is appointed for it. They will also have a date set for the 341 Meeting.
Copies of your tax returns
You will need to provide the copies of your most recent federal tax return at least seven days prior to the 341 Meeting. You will also need to provide them to any creditor that makes the request. If you don’t meet the deadline, the case will be dismissed.
In a Chapter 13 case, you must have filed with the federal, state and local taxing authorities all of the tax returns that should have been filed in the past four years.
Attending the 341 Meeting
This may be the only time where you might come face to face with your creditors. It usually takes place 20 to 40 days after filing. This is a mandatory meeting. You must bring a photo ID and proof of your Social Security number.
The trustee will ask whether or not the information in the bankruptcy petition is true and accurate. The trustee will ask about nonexempt property that can be sold to satisfy creditors. They might even ask about money that was transferred or payments made before Bankruptcy.
Other information the trustee may want to know:
The value of your home, and whether you actually live there
Whether you actually use tools in your trade or business
The value of your car
Your pension plan
Copies of titles to your vehicles
This is the ultimate goal in t he Bankruptcy process. In a Chapter 7, this generally occurs about 90 days after your case is filed and usually is an automatic process that requires nothing from you. In a Chapter 13, your discharge occurs upon successful completion of your repayment plan.